What is your advice on, or your opinion of, abortion?
This is another of those “loaded questions!” The problem with pulling this subject out of a practical context (thus, attempting to establish an axiomatic or universal doctrine – a kind of blanket answer that speaks to all and every case) is that the “Pro Choice” and/or “Pro Life” agendas come out with it. [I am using the term “agenda” in the specific sense of a total worldview that seeks to manipulate and control the masses.] I refuse to purposely take part in any kind of “agenda,” though I am often called upon as a pastor by followers of such “agendas” to make a stand on this subject. But I will answer like this:
[Please read my entire answer before you pass a judgment on it.]
Though I know that those of the “agendas” (and especially the “Pro-Lifers”) will not like it, I do not have a universal – an across the board – opinion or any cut and dry advice concerning abortion, and for several reasons.
The argument that abortion should not be used as birth control is an incomplete one. If one is premeditating the use of abortion as birth control, then I am certainly against it. It exemplifies a lack of responsibility and accountability. In short, grow up!
However, what do we do, for example, in cases of rape? Sure, we can take the moral high road and speak of all kinds of theological exemptions, but more practical questions begged, for example, are “Is the mother able to love the child in this situation?” Or “Will the child only be a painful reminder of something done to the mother?” There are more cases than I can count of the resentment of a mother (or the boyfriend or husband, for that matter) toward a child because he/she was a product of rape; not to mention the psyche of the child in this situation. Certainly there are many cases where everyone has “adjusted” marvelously, but do not be confused, that is another argument.
The argument equating abortion with child sacrifice is absurd. While there may be cases of murderous cults using abortion in religion, it is preposterous to assume all are the case. If and when it is the case, I am against it (obviously).
More specifically, the idea that abortion today equates to the child sacrifice of the ancient religions is theological suicide. In context, (for instance, the Old Testament accounts) in every case the participant purposely sacrificed their child/children to so-called gods in order to gain the favor of said gods. Are we to say that women are dedicating their unborn to gods in the abortion clinics? Oh, we can use clever hyperbole and play-on-words to speak about “sacrificing the unborn on the altar of ‘self,’” but again, is that always the case? And if it not, how, then, can we universalize it? Do I need to say that I am against this type of sacrifice?
The argument that abortions should be illegal is ignorant. What law is there which keeps someone from breaking laws? And how is that law not broken? We can rid the world of abortion clinics and doctors, but in their places will raise-up chop shops disguised as clinics and butchers disguised as doctors.
It is interesting (and another conversation, altogether) that the abstinence argument is cultural. Though there are exceptions to the rule (that is what makes it a rule), for many cultures not having sex is an alien concept.
As an aside, I must comment here (for it is as good a place as any) on the ridiculous argument of semantics. To argue the definition of abortion is dependent on whether or not the unborn is termed a “fetus” or not is asinine. Logically speaking, in order to make this argument, one must think that abortion is “wrong” and, therefore, in order to change the fact of being “wrong,” consider the definition of “life” to be a matter of trimesters. Really, do we not see the self-contradictory and flawed logic of this argument? If, according to this argument, “life” begins at a certain trimester, wouldn’t “ending the pregnancy” before said trimester end a “would be life?” I do not understand the difference, logically speaking.
And to the discussion of “partial birth abortions,” there is no satisfactory argument to support such a barbaric practice, including, but not limited to, the “stem cell research” argument. I will not waste anymore space on this insanity.
Now, have I ever suggested that someone should get an abortion? No, I have never. Neither have I, as if occurring in a vacuum, simply blurted out my opinion on the matter with anyone. In every conversation I have had with one considering abortion I have advised her to, first, pray about what she is considering. Second, I have always attempted to rationalize the decisions the situations dictate (i.e., whether adoption is an option). And third, contrary to any agenda, I have never “passed judgment” on a person for their decision.
There are, in many cases, mental and physiological “side effects” to abortion. I know of women who are haunted by, what they feel are, their unborn children. I know of women who have doubted, in some cases for the rest of their lives, their decisions to abort. And I know of women who can never have children again because of an abortion. Incidentally, I also know of women who have suffered none of these.
I think the more direct point here concerns God. One’s opinion on abortion notwithstanding – whether you agree or not that abortion is birth control or child sacrifice, or whether or not you think abortion should be illegal – the ultimate question is, for the overwhelming concern of most of the women I know, “Will God forgive me?”
Forced agendas and the cold prejudices of the church have necessitated this question. Women are alienated (either imagined or real) from certain circles and certain churches because of their choices of abortion. And my understanding of the theology of the Vision, more than anything else, dictates my advice and opinion on this subject; and that, of God reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ.
If there is something we can do that is greater than the Cross of Christ – of more effect than the shed blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins – then all hope is lost and we are altogether dead in our sins!
I am not debating whether or not abortion is a sin, I am debating whether or not God forgives us for the decisions (whether we think they’re right or wrong) that we make (either with or without His help).
The short answer is: God loves you, no matter what you have done or not. God, in the sacrifice of His Son, has forgiven humanity (and is still forgiving humanity) for every sin if they would only believe on His Son. This is the grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
God will and does forgive you if and when forgiveness is needed. We must learn to forgive ourselves if and when needed.